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NASA chooses ILS Atlas V launch vehicle to launch Solar Dynamics Observatory

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Old October 1st 04, 07:02 PM
Jacques van Oene
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Default NASA chooses ILS Atlas V launch vehicle to launch Solar Dynamics Observatory


MCLEAN, VA., September 30, 2004

A mission to study solar influences on space weather will ride into orbit on
an Atlas V launch vehicle, under a contract announced today between NASA and
International Launch Services (ILS).

ILS is scheduled to launch the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in April
2008 from Cape Canaveral, Fla., using the Atlas V 401 configuration. The
space agency's Kennedy Space Center is managing the launch services
contract, while Goddard Space Flight Center manages the SDO project.
Financial terms were not disclosed.

"It's exciting to have this vital space exploration mission on our manifest,
and to support NASA's advancement of science," said ILS President Mark
Albrecht. "This will be our third NASA launch on Atlas V, following the
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2005 and the Pluto New Horizons flight in

This also is ILS' sixth award of the year for an Atlas V launch, which is
complemented by an equal number of new Proton launch orders.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory is the first spacecraft in Goddard's Living
with a Star Program, under NASA's Sun-Earth Connection theme. Among the SDO
study topics are solar magnetic fields and the dynamic processes that
influence space weather.

Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) builds the Atlas V vehicle, which can be
configured to lift payloads ranging from 10,900 pounds to more than 19,000
pounds to geostationary transfer orbit. ILS offers launch services to
government and commercial satellite operators worldwide, on the Atlas
vehicles and on the Russian-built Proton rockets. ILS is a joint venture of
Lockheed Martin and Russian rocket builder Khrunichev State Research and
Production Space Center. ILS was formed in 1995, and is based in McLean,
Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.

ILS is the global leader in launch services, offering the industry's two
best launch systems: Atlas and Proton. With a remarkable launch rate of 66
missions since 2000, the Atlas and Proton launch vehicles have consistently
demonstrated the reliability and flexibility that have made them the
preferred choice among satellite operators worldwide. Since the beginning
of 2003, ILS has signed more new commercial contracts than all of its
competitors combined.

Fran Slimmer, International Launch Services, McLean, Va.; 1-571-633-7462;
mobile: 1-646-229-4801; .

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 130,000 people
worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development,
manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and
services. The corporation reported 2003 sales of $31.8 billion.


Jacques :-)



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